Saturday, 24 August 2013

Crystal Stilts - Nature Noir

Nature Noir is the new album from Crystal Stilts, due out on September 16th through Sacred Bones, and it's currently having aural sex with our earholes here at Popsiculture.

It's an effortlessly stylish, stereophonic masterpiece that begs for a decent pair of headphones or set of speakers - so do yourself a favour, and give this one a listen on something other than your laptop or phone's built-in speakers; you won't regret it.
High Points

As is so often the case, the high points on Nature Noir are the short, sweet tracks - particularly Sticks and Stones, the guts of which lasts for only about 2:14.

There's plenty of alliteration here too, which is bound to please the writers among you; not only the title of the album itself, but six of the ten tracks - Future Folklore, Sticks and Stones, World's Gone Weird, Darken the Door, the titular Nature Noir, and Phases Forever - have pleasingly alliterative titles.

OK, so that's got nothing to do with the quality of the music, but I know there's plenty of people out there who'll find it pretty satisfying all the same.

Track Previews

Star Crawl, previewed on YouTube on July 18th, is already available as a digital single, if you can't wait for Nature Noir to arrive in full.

With over 24,000 views at the time of writing, it's an indication of Crystal Stilts' enduring popularity - and of the number of fans who were out there just waiting for their return.

Future Folklore was previewed on YouTube on August 13th, and has clocked up over 5,000 views in the 11 days since.

There's something decidedly Tarantino-esque about the guitar on this track - check the preview below and see if you agree.

The Verdict

Nature Noir is already finding fans - new and old - with a hugely positive reception to the tracks previewed on YouTube so far, and I can say with a good amount of certainty that the rest of the album will not disappoint anyone who likes what they've heard so far.

This is music that, while by no means lazy in its composition, is perfect for a lazy day, when the rain's pounding against your bedroom window, and you just want to listen to something that feels like a warm, comforting hug.

A mid-September release date is just right, then; and while the timing means Nature Noir will not be the soundtrack to anyone's summer, it should provide some elegant acoustics for this autumn.

The downsides - of which there are few - are simply that the general style of this album will not appeal to everyone; vocalist Brad Hargett's delivery may come across as drab, and critics might argue that the full 34-minute playing time is enough for Nature Noir to become boring.

Personally though, I'd suggest that almost as a positive; sometimes you just don't want to listen to music that requires effort, and Nature Noir is a catchy, but not overly demanding, earworm that does just what it needs to, and no more.

Final Score: 78%

Crystal Stilts UK Tour Dates:

23rd Nov - Green Door Store, Brighton
24th Nov - Liverpool Psychfest party, Liverpool
25th Nov - Mono, Glasgow
26th Nov - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
27th Nov - The Exchange, Bristol
28th Nov - Cargo, London

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